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Scared Bars

Going into Winter break from school I felt like things were falling apart.  I had completely lost touch with all religion, I hadn't been to church since August and even then I didn't believe anymore;  I had been on only one date in the previous year and that had been an absolute disaster; My grades were horrible compared to what I could have made; My job at Universal Studios absolutely sucked; The worst part had been my first poem written for my poetry class went completely unregarded.

I had titled the poem Manic Depression and written it as a triple acrostic with envelope triplets.  I spent over twenty hours writing the poem and going over it making new drafts until I came up with the final line, "Now I'll take up my knife."  Bryan and Jess were the only people to take notice of how I was feeling, everyone else simply assumed it was just a poem and it had nothing to do with me.

I felt completely lost in life again. My first tattoo of my Polar Bob totem had lost it's hold on my emotions and I was ready to give up on everything.

When Bryan asked me if I wanted to take pictures at the suspension event at Needle Fetish I jumped at the chance to do something for BME and the CoBM.  I had a good understanding of what I would be seeing while I was there.  On the way up from Orlando I did my best to calm my nerves so I did what comes natural to a bear, I went to sleep.  During the parts of the trip that I was awake Bryan told me that he was going to get his CoBM bars redone by Tim.  I started thinking that I might want to get my bars too.  Granted, I wasn't a member yet but that was only a technicality in my mind.

We got there pretty early and I had time to meet people and get a good feel for the area that I would be taking pictures in.  I met Steve and Alva and knew that if they trusted Tim to work in there shop that I would be in good hands.

I took pictures of around 5 suspensions. I used five good rolls of film before I had to stop due to sunset and a lack of funds to aquire more film(the fifth roll cost me $8.00 at the 7-11). Tim arrived just after I had finished taking pictures.

Tim did Bryan's bars and Bryan came out very impressed with Tim's work.  Tim did his suspension a little later and scared the hell out of me.  There was no way he'd be able to work on me after swinging from wall to wall, smoking a cigarette and talking on a cell phone while suspended.  He came down completely level headed and acted like he had done nothing out of the ordinary.  Now I was getting nervous.

About two hours later Tim was ready to start working.  He told me up front that it would be $50.  I felt really bad because I had exactly fifty after borrowing five bucks from a friend.  I really wanted to give him a tip.

We talked about the actual design, how wide did I want the bars, how tall, how far apart, did I want shading, where were they going to be put, I guess that's the usual stuff to discuss.

I sat down backwards in a chair facing the open door into the hallway and started taking really deep breaths to calm myself down.  (un)luckily I started getting light headed from doing this and calmed down really fast.  Stitch(I think he was there), Stitch's girlfriend (I can't remember her name now) and Bryan sat on the doctor's office bed to watch the whole thing and to be there for moral support.

When Tim started shaving my back (yes I'm extremely hairy) I freaked because it was too high.  I asked him if he could lower the whole thing about an inch or so, I didn't want it to be visible if I was wearing a T-shirt.  He went through a couple of razor blades and then cleaned the skin with the bottle that Alva and Steve had labeled "Battery Acid" then I heard the needle start.

I took a deep breath, felt the needle touch my skin and let the breath out slowly.  When the needle left my skin I took two deep breaths, held the second and let it out.  I kept this rhythm up for the entire process.  The outline around the spine was somewhat shocking and the outline that went close to my left shoulder was extremely painful.  If I hadn't been prepared from my first tattoo I probably would have yelled for Tim to quit.

Around the time that Tim started using the fill needle I heard people laughing about play piercing that Alva was doing.  I tried to concentrate on what I was hearing from the hallway rather than what was coming from my back.  I heard one woman talking about how she was walking around topless.  I was really tempted to look up but I had a feeling that getting excited and moving when Tim wasn't expecting it would be a bad idea.

I fought through the pain this time a lot better than I had the first time.  Tim had a lighter hand that Joey and the detail that went into Polar Bob wasn't needed for my bars.  Once I was taped up and standing I gave Tim the $50 and told him I was sorry I couldn't

give him a tip because I had nothing else. He asked me if I was really broke from that and when I said yes he gave me back $10 and said something along the lines of making sure I ate the following day.

Since I couldn't put my shirt back on for the time being I walked around for about a half hour or so topless and gave everyone a good view of my hairy tits and even hairier back before Bryan and I left.

Tim told me to use cocoa butter during the healing process to make sure the color held.  I didn't.  I couldn't reach the tattoo myself and asking my family was out of the question for the week that I spent at home.  Because of this the bars have lost some ink in places and they appear to be cracked.  I actually like this result very much because it fits my almost constant mental, emotional, and physical states.  I'm still standing but I've always got problems in each aspect.

Because of my bars I have finalized my plans for future work.  To keep the balance I intend to get an ape with the words "Peace" and "Agony" on my left shoulder to symbolize what I desire physically and what holds me back.  The ape represents my physical self as I see it.  On my lower back I plan to get a lion (Leo) with the words "Peace" and "Oblivion."  This is to represent my emotional or spiritual state.  Once those are done I'm going to get a modified Zodiac wheel in the center of my back, the details are still hazy, I'll figure them out with time.

Since all the trouble between the Church and BME started the day after I got my bars, at least the trouble started in areas that concerned me, I had to rethink my reasons for having the bars.  I quickly realized that my mind, body, and soul don't need a church.  They simply need each other.

In the last three months I have fought to keep myself balanced.  I can never seem to get a grip on things that really matter.  I sometimes wonder if getting my bars on my back was a good idea.  I think, if I had them on my arm, or chest, or leg and could see them everyday that I'd be able to hold my balance with the reminder from them.  But, to get tattoo work done where it would be visible to the majority of the world is something I can't bring myself to do.  The close minded views of my family would cause them and me more pain than we've already had to endure with cancer and surgeries everywhere.  However, I can't help wondering if hiding myself from my family is helping me.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 22 March 2002
in Tattoos

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Artist: Tim
Studio: Needle+Fetish+%28Tim%27s+shop+is+Agony%29
Location: Jacksonville+Florida

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